The Secret Diary of a Cricket Playboy

He sat at the chemin de fer table and removed his jacket. It was a vintage Dolce and Gabanna. One he’d been given at a raffle in Singapore.

Cards was his game. It always had been. The waiter came up to him and he ordered a vodka martini.

“Shaken or stirred?” asked the waiter.

He looked at him wearily and said:

“Dry.”

The waiter looked perplexed, but he dismissed him with a wave of his hand. The dealer announced:

“It’s ten thousand a hand. What chips would sir like.”

“Two two thousands, four one thousands, and two more two thousands.”

“Ten thousand?”

“Yes.”

“And?”

“Yes?”

He was silent now. His focus was on what he does best. Win. A dark looking man came and sat next to him.

“Ravy,” he saw on the nametag. “Unusual name.”

“It’s Ravi.”

“Rayvi?”

“Ravi.”

“Ra-vee?”

The man gave him a silent stare.

“Ruvi?”

“Fuck off.”

The game began. It was cold inside the room. The air conditioning had been turned up too high. He put his jacket back on. It was a game of endurance after all. He would be here some time. But then a glint of something caught his eye. A girl at the bar. Brown hair, red lips, arms and legs. Wow. He felt a surgation in his trousers. He took off his jacket again.

The dealer handed out the cards. He won. He left the table ten thousand up. He walked over to the bar, and sat down next to the tall, dark-eyed, leggy brunette.

“What can I get you?” asked Swann.

The woman looked him at him blankly.

“I’ll ask you again. What are you drinking?”

“Well if you insist,” she replied. “How about the Bollinger 1967?”

“Of course. Waiter. A vodka martini and a glass of Bollinger.”

“A glass?”

“Stirred.”

The barman walked off.

“I hate it when they ask me that question.”

“What question?”

“You know shaken or stirred?”

“Sorry?”

“What’s your name.”

“Volkoshinaikova.”

“Nice. Mind if I call you Vicky?”

“No.”

She glanced at his nametag.

“Grra-em.”

“It’s Gray-am.”

“Graa-mm?”

“Gray-umm.”

“Grey-hum.”

“Yes. Like Gooch.”

She looked back at the bar. They sat and sipped their drinks in silence. He hummed a tune. She checked the time.

“In a hurry?”

“Yes. I am meeting a client.”

“I see. What do you do?”

“I work in client services.”

“Ok.”

They sat in silence again. He hummed.

“What is that?”

“The song? It’s ‘You Only Live Twice.’ You know James Bond.”

Her eyes registered interest.

“James Bond? Oh wow. I love that guy. Sexy man. Those muscles in the beach, mmm.”

“He’s not real you know.”

“I mean Craig Daniel. He is sexy guy.”

He wasn’t going to be put off his stride.

“Look Vicky what d’you do?”

“I work in client entertainment.”

“I see.”

He was silent. Then he asked:

“How much?”

“Ten thousand.”

He checked his pocket. He took out his wallet and counted the money. One by one. Twelve minutes later he said:

“I’ve got eight thousand six hundred and fity two left.”

“Ten thousand.”

“Ok I’ll be back.”

He went back to do what he does best.

“This is my game,” he thought as the dealer flicked a spade his way. He gulped another vodka martini and glanced at the girl at the bar. He felt another surgation.

Four minutes later he got up from the table. He owed the casino ten thousand pounds. He decided he would run for it but they chased him down. Hunted him.

Part II

He was driving on the King’s Road in his second-hand Lamborghini Spyder when he saw a dolly bird on the pavement.

“Hello darling,” he called to her as he felt a surgation.

She walked over and looked into the car with a quizzical expression.

“I like your car Mister. It’s shiny.”

“Well this could just be your lucky day,” he replied. “Get in, I’ll take you for a ride.”

“I hope  it is a hot ride.”

She climbed in and he drove.

“So, time for a quickie?” he asked.

“A quickie?”

“A quick one.”

“A quick one?”

“Yes. Very quick.”

“How quick.”

“I can do it in 12.3 seconds.”

“Do what?”

“Everything.”

He changed the gear stick into third.

“What do you do?” she asked.

“Ah that would be telling.”

There was a pause.

“I’m a cricketer.”

“Like, computers?”

“No, I’m a sportsman.”

They sat in silence while he drove to his apartment in Clapham. As soon as they got there she started to cry and demanded to be taken back home. So he gave her a lift to the tube station and let her out.

He got back into his car. The Lamborghini felt a lot smaller now. Poky. Maybe he would trade it in for a LandRover.

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